Authors
Heather Demarest
University of Colorado, Boulder
Abstract
The laws of nature are central to our understanding of the world. And while there is often broad agreement about the technical formulations of the laws, there can be sharp disagreement about the metaphysical nature of the laws. For instance, the Newtonian laws of nature can be stated and analyzed by appealing to a set of possible worlds. Yet, some philosophers argue the worlds are mere notational devices, while others take them to be robust, concrete entities in their own right. In this paper, I use a recent view of laws called the Mentaculus as a case study to illustrate the wide variety of metaphysical pictures that can accompany such a view. I conclude that the technical features of the laws -- typically (though not always) given to us by practicing scientists -- are compatible with many different metaphysical foundations.
Keywords Mentaculus  Laws of nature  Probability  Metaphysics  Possible worlds  Fundamental
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References found in this work BETA

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
Nature’s Metaphysics.Alexander Bird - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
The Metaphysics Within Physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Time and Chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Harvard University Press.
The Nature and Structure of Content.Jeffrey C. King - 2007 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Fundamental Nomic Vagueness.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - Philosophical Review.
The Past Hypothesis and the Nature of Physical Laws.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - In Barry Loewer, Eric Winsberg & Brad Weslake (eds.), Time's Arrows and the Probability Structure of the World. Harvard University Press.

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